Energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and water usage have all been reduced since 2015 as environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues remain a priority for Morguard Corporation.
The company has initiatives spanning 321 commercial and multi-suite residential properties in communities across North America.
“Integrating sustainability practices into every aspect of our business demonstrates our commitment to going beyond words and taking concrete action,” said Morguard chairman and CEO K. Rai Sahi in a recent release. “We approach sustainability as an essential component to maintaining the long-term value of Morguard’s assets, to mitigate risks, increase value and contribute to strong overall business and financial performance.”
Morguard is a major North American real estate company with headquarters in Mississauga. It has extensive retail, office, industrial, multi–suite residential, and hotel holdings owned directly, or through its investments in Morguard North American Residential REIT, Morguard REIT, and Temple Hotels Inc.
Morguard also provides real estate management services to institutional and other investors. Morguard’s owned and managed portfolio of assets is valued at $21.1 billion.
The company has established six long-term sustainability targets for 2035, including reaching net zero.
Reductions in energy, GHG emissions, water usage
During 2018, Sustainable Morguard achieved significant advances in key sustainability metrics, the company says.
Compared to its 2015 baseline results, Morguard achieved a 5.3 per cent reduction in energy consumption, a 4.8 per cent reduction in GHG emissions and a 3.8 per cent reduction in water usage.
Among the company’s highlights, its Mississauga City Centre won a BOMA Toby Award for outstanding building of the year by implementing LEDs, reducing waste, moving to low-flow water fixtures, installing rain sensors to reduce wasted water on rainy days, and enhancing tenant communication to support sustainable business practices.
“While any one of these practices on their own is not necessarily ground breaking, designing a program that ensures all areas of sustainability are being properly monitored and implemented is what we aim to see from all our properties and as such MCC is a prime example of leadership in sustainable property management,”corporate sustainability and responsibility manager Christine Wickett told SustainableBiz.
Three HOOPP LEAP awards
In addition, three properties were recognized by the HOOPP LEAP awards this year: Calgary’s 11th Avenue Place as ‘waste minimizer;’ Ottawa’s 150 Elgin in partnership with Canada Council for the Arts for ‘tenant leader;’ and New Sudbury Centre for ‘sustainable operator’.
“These properties have all taken sustainability and social responsibility to the next level,” Wickett said.
11th Avenue Place created “a robust waste campaign including education and practical procedures that led to an amazing waste diversion rate of 86 per cent.” New Sudbury Centre implemented programs “to reduce their fuel use in the maintenance department by 77 per cent through cutting back on vehicle usage. That said, much of what we do and achieve isn’t possible without the involvement and engagement of our tenants.”
Then there’s the Canada Council for the Arts in the capital, “who were one of the first organizations in their region to become an EcoDistrict Champion and currently prohibit the use of plastic water bottles.” In addition, the council donates “all computers and e-equipment to an organization that refurbishes them for use in schools, while maintaining a garden for the enjoyment of their employees.”
ESG initiatives large and small
Morguard has implemented a series of other ESG programs:
* Partnering with Bullfrog Power to purchase renewable energy credits, displacing 87.25 tonnes of CO2e (GHG emissions).
* Implementing the Ontario Industrial Conservation Initiative at two new properties.
* Certifying seven properties with ENERGY STAR, which compares a property’s energy performance against similar properties.
* Strengthening the communities in which Morguard operates by raising funds and awareness for community groups, including Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in the U.S.
The efforts include projects both large and small, as evidenced in Brandon, Man., where a community partnership was formed at Shoppers Mall. By collecting nearly 2,000 plastic bags from shoppers, 38 pounds of plastic were converted into benches for local parks.
“I was really impressed with that one, since not only were we reducing single-use plastic items from reaching the waste stream, we were also assisting our local community to create benches that the community would use to build relationships — a win-win for everyone,” Wickett said.
Next: focus on “using less”
So what’s next? The future includes expanding the war on plastic.
A large area of focus for Morguard in waste management over the next three years “is quite simply, using less,” said Wickett.
The company is focused on finding alternatives to single-use plastic “understanding that the world consistently produces around 300 million tonnes of plastic each year and roughly half of that annual plastic production is destined for a single-use product,” she said.
“Those numbers are staggering and the pollution that improper disposal of plastic waste brings is a real problem. Reducing consumption also reduces cost to our properties, along with carbon emissions.”
Morguard 2018 ESG Report
* 5.3 per cent reduction in energy use, enough to power 2,600 homes for a year
* 4.8 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to eliminating the annual GHG emissions from over 1,050 passenger vehicles
* 3.8 per cent reduction in water usage, equivalent to 26 Olympic swimming pools
* 13 LEED-certified green buildings in operation, with five properties in the certification process
* 55 properties certified through BOMA BEST with 10 properties in the certification process
* Six consecutive years of recognition as one of Canada’s Safest Employers
* Morguard was also the recipient of seven Green Building awards in 2018, ranging from industry to client-specific acknowledgements.